ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – To help keep students safe in schools, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, backed legislation that would phase out the use of dangerous restraints and “quiet rooms” to discipline students.
“Students should not have to worry that school punishment will cause them anguish and trauma,” said Manley. “It is appalling that kids have been allowed to be locked in rooms by themselves for hours at a time as a disciplinary method. It is past time that we get rid of these archaic punishments and find ways to humanely discipline students.”
In 2019, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica published an article describing the experiences of students, many of whom had special needs, who were punished with “quiet rooms,” which kept them locked in a room and secluded for hours. In response to this cruel form of punishment, Manley cosponsored House Bill 219, which directs the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to phase out the use of these punishments by implementing strict limits on these practices.
Since entering the General Assembly, Manley has worked to advance the needs of students. This session, she co-sponsored legislation that would allow students in special needs programs to finish the school year of their 22nd birthday, rather than aging out once they turn 22, allowing students to graduate with their class and not be suddenly kicked out of school in the middle of the school year.
“When it comes to our kids, it is critical that we do everything in our power to keep them protected and set them up for future success,” said Manley. “Whether it’s through eliminating harsh and unsafe punishments or extending the services that schools provide, I will continue to work to ensure students receive the best educational experience possible.”